This is part six of this nine part series. Please comment, question, critique, and criticize. With your help, I hope to work this into a successful story.
Several Small Children Play
With a soundboard of empty trees and yellow grass, school children played on the sand and asphalt of limitless dreams. Uninterrupted, a lazy jet left a thin contrail across the blue vault of heaven. Several school children, mostly the boys, ran aimlessly without a coat. The uniform required the girls to don knee-length plaid skirts; some wore their socks up to meet and they retained their coats. Classes were in recess. The week’s spelling test was over. Their aim was to have a lot of fun in a little time.
The small voices reverberated into the distance. Balls flew. Ropes swung. Legs ran. Some of the bigger boys chased the smaller ones. Some of the girls huddled in close circles. The brave girls attacked the swing set, tucking their skirts between their knees. A group of three girls and one boy giggled through the classic playground game foursquare. Their ball bounced through the laughter, rolled away, and gathered speed down the gentle slope of the lot. Three boys took position at the tetherball pole. They swung the ball fast and hard, one way, and then the other, and back again—trying hard to test each other. Their world spun ever faster—around…and around…and around.
Jump ropes circled round and round creating an outlined football as three girls double-dutched, dreaming themselves the next world champions. Two more, swaying to the rhythm, waited patiently for their turn. Or not. One, growing ever impatient, joined the action inside the ring of ropes, screaming, “Ready or not, here I come!” The first jumper got distracted. She lost her momentum. She fell. Tangled. Scraping her uncovered knees. There was a scream of pain, surprise and outraged dignity. All went together with their injured friend into the building, helping her walk as a tiny trickle of blood surrendered to gravity.
They were undoubtedly going to visit the school nurse. She was quite used to these tragic playground injuries. Ready for anything, she waited with a warm smile and encouraging words. The sweet, loving nurse would surely secure the wound with a bandage and a kiss for good measure. Returning the girls to recess, she would leave them with the kind words, “be careful,” as she returned to her desk to wait for the next scrape or tummy ache.
The boys became disinterested in tetherball and picked up the abandoned ropes and began swinging them in the air. Their behavior was a test for attention. They wondered, with wild eyes, how long they could violently attack each other before being escorted to the principal’s office. Their teacher, snapped to awareness by the assault, began walking quickly across the lot. She yelled for the boys’ attention and cautiously approached the ropes. Playtime was over for the boys. The two ropes dropped to the ground and three boys were taken to face their punishment. Two participated, but the third boy would act as a witness for the principal. The others would hate him until their punishment was over. Then the friendship could resume.
The game of foursquare ended and that group wandered to tetherball. Their game was far more civil that the boys’ and each respectfully took turns. They gently tossed the ball around its rusty pole. The rope was fraying. The smallest of the girls played back, timid, eyes near closed. She feared the rope would break and the ball would fly off in her direction. She didn’t want to be embarrassed. She didn’t want to hurt her face.
To Be Continued…